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Honda’s Civic has long since stood as Canada’s most acclaimed and trusted car. The best-selling car in Canada for 21 straight years, competition is sure to arise. Mazda’s Mazda3 has become the latest competitor to Honda’s Civic, offering a bold redesign to showcase its updated architecture, enhanced styling, available all-wheel-drive system and new infotainment. 

Both compact cars exude style, affordability and fun-to-drive features. Despite Mazda’s recent updates, the best cars provide the hidden comforts buyers do not always know how much we need. Let’s dive into the details to discover which car separates itself from the competition in fulfilling utilitarian needs with maximized convenience and uncompromising functionality. 

Safety

Winner: Civic

A car is not bought just for its driving capabilities, but for the safety it provides. Every buyer should have all safety features available to them. This priority is why the Civic Sedan wins over the Mazda3 for safety. 

For every 2019 model, the Civic comes standard with the Honda Sensing Suite. Lane keep assist, automatic emergency braking, collision-mitigation braking and adaptive cruise control are just a few of the features available to any Honda buyer. 

The Mazda3 does provide safety features. However, to attain safety features such as the Civic’s, you would have to buy the select package. The select package includes lane departure warning, driver attention alert and lane keep assist. The Mazda3 does not come with automatic emergency braking. By opting for the select package, you’ll receive Mazda’s Smart City Brake Support with pedestrian tracking. Safety is never an option, nor should it be when choosing a car.

Driving Experience

Winner: Civic

Mazda has been known for the driving experience their vehicles provide. With a higher torque capacity, one might look at their powertrain and see value in it over the Civic. However, the Civic compacts more horsepower. In its 2019 version, the Mazda3 no longer has the independent rear suspension that largely had an impact on the way it could be driven. Once the Mazda3 encounters a small bump in the road, the rear end jumps around. On smooth pavement, the driving experience is exceptional, but despite our dreams, we all know that not every road is perfect. 

Not every road is flat either. Going uphill, the 2.0-liter engine of the Civic Sedan does not exert itself. The Civic’s independent rear suspension ensures vibrations made from road imperfections are not felt. Its drift compensation automatically helps the driver keep their vehicle straight with added ease in icy road conditions. The Mazda3 does not offer the assurance Canadians seek with drift compensation steering.

Exterior 

Winner: Civic/Mazda3

Over the many years the Civic Sedan has been in the market, it continues to redefine itself. With a sleek profile and sharp lines, the Civic Sedan blends well on the road to be contemporary and practical. The Mazda3 is just as attractive for a compact car. The Mazda3’s new bodywork is as detail-oriented as the Civic’s. With such similar styles in the two cars, each hosting different trims to choose from, it comes down to a buyer’s personal preference. 

In terms of exterior practicality, the Civic Sedan has a strong hold over the Mazda3. Civic drivers enjoy additional peace of mind while driving through inclement weather with front fog lights. The Mazda3 does not provide front fog lights, drivers straining their eyes in such conditions. 

Interior

Winner: Civic

We will not always be driving alone. We may have just embarked on a large grocery haul. You always need space in your car for anything. The Civic’s dimensions make for a much more comfortable ride than what the Mazda offers. Offering a minimum 42 litres more trunk space than the Mazda, the Civic Sedan is better suited for anyone with sports gear travelling around with them. Containing 33 mm more front shoulder room, 38 mm more rear shoulder room and 59 mm more legroom, there is more than enough space for even the tallest people to be comfortable in the Civic. 

Both the Mazda3 and the Civic Sedan are loaded with standard touchscreen displays contributing to their modern interiors. The Mazda3’s 8.8-inch screen compared to the Civic’s standard 5-inch screen is quite large. With a trim upgrade, a 7-inch screen can be reached. Although you may have wanted a larger screen, the Civic Sedan’s available heated rear seats make up for this. Canada is always going to be cold, and there’s nothing better than escaping the chilly winter months by hopping into a car with warmed seats. Honda offers available heated rear seats for heightened comfort while the Mazda3 does not provide this option, leaving back-seat passengers in the lurch. 

Technological Connectivity 

Winner: Civic 

With Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, the Civic Sedan is also equipped with a wifi-tethering hotspot. The Mazda3’s Mazda Connect system adds HD radio and internet radio integration while the Honda Civic uses Bluetooth connectivity. The Honda Display Audio system comes with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. For those of us who love our time spent in the car listening to our favorite tunes, we probably want our phone’s connectivity easily available for us. 

The Civic’s technological advantages begin before you even enter the vehicle. Equipped with a remote engine starter that lets drivers warm-up or cool down the interior of their car before getting inside, this availability is one that the Mazda3 cannot match. Mazda offers this functionality, but only through an app that requires expensive installation costs, plus an annual fee after the first year. 

Warranty

Winner:  Mazda 3

Mazda has now introduced Mazda Unlimited. Every new Mazda vehicle from 2015 onward comes with a 3-year New Vehicle Unlimited Mileage Warranty.  Honda provides the same 3-year warranty, but the mileage is limited to 60,000 km. Unless your car is being used for long-distance travel rather than city destination drives, unlimited mileage warranty is not needed. Honda’s vehicle warranty coverage includes additional perks like Mazda’s, providing customers extra assurance when buying their Civic Sedan.

Pricing 

Winner:  Civic

Pricing for the Civic Sedan starts at $17,890, slightly less than the $18,000 starting price of the Mazda3. With two more trims, the Mazda3 GS starts at $22,700 and the Mazda3 GT at $26,200. Offering three more trims with increased technological opportunities from the Mazda3, the Civic provides options for a buyer with any interests or budget. The second-lowest trim, the LX, starts at $20,790, the EX at $24,390, the Sport at $25,590, the Touring at $28,090 and the top trim, the Si, at $29,090.

Honda Civic Awards

Category Honda Civic  Mazda 3
Pricing $17,890 $18,000
Warranty 3 years or 60000 km 3 years for new vehicles, unlimited mileage 
Fuel Economy (City / HWY) 9.3/6.5 L/100KM 8.8/6.6 L /100KM
Horsepower 158 hp 155 hp
Torque 138 lb-ft 150 lb-ft
Safety Honda Sensing Suite Mazda Safety Technology
Trunk Space 416-428 L 374 L
Comfort Heated rear seats, front fog lights, remote engine starter on key Remote engine starter on a app with annual fees
Features Apple CarPlay, Andriod Auto, Wifi Hotspot Apple CarPlay, Andriod Auto
Overall Affordable, more space, more power, standard safety technologies, more comfort, more wifi connectivity Less power, less space, all safety features available only in select packages, less comfort, less wifi connectivity.